A village of almost 1,000 people in Sierra Leone has been placed under quarantine following the death of a 67-year-old woman from Ebola. Forty-eight people are considered high risk, but have yet to show any symptoms.
The latest victim, a food trader from Sella Kafta village in the northern district of Kambia, had been sick for up to 10 days without informing authorities.
Earlier this week, the whole area was placed on high alert to ensure the virus would not spread. A three-week lockdown was announced for the village where the woman lived, on Friday, affecting almost 1,000 residents.
Forty-eight of the villagers are considered high risk, but have so far not shown any signs or symptoms of the virus. Health workers were due to vaccinate around 200 people who had been in direct or indirect contact with the woman.
Officials said the woman had not travelled to Liberia or Guinea, which have also been affected by the worst ever outbreak of the Ebola virus.
The latest death has renewed fears following the worst outbreak of Ebola in history.
After Sierra Leone’s last known Ebola patient was released from hospital last week, there had been hopes that the virus had abated.
The patient – a 34-year-old woman from Makeni, the third largest city – survived, but lost her son to the deadly virus.
On Thursday, Liberia was once again declared free of Ebola by the World Health Organization (WHO). The fever resurfaced there in June, leaving two people dead.
The latest flare-up happened six weeks after a previous outbreak – which saw a death toll in the thousands – had been declared over.
Over 11,000 people have died across West Africa during the latest epidemic, which began 18 months ago. African and global health agencies have been criticised for their handling of the crisis. The WHO says a country can be declared Ebola-free 42 days after the last confirmed case has tested negative twice for the virus.
Ebola causes fever, vomiting and diarrhoea and can lead to the failure of vital organs and internal and external bleeding.